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Monday, November 10, 2014

Living with multiple sclerosis (MS) / MS BluePrint: an interview with Gretchen Rubin and Megan Weigel

insights from industryGretchen RubinAmbassador of MS Blueprint & author of
Happier at Home and The Happiness Project
Megan WeigelPresident-elect of the International Organization
of Multiple Sclerosis Nurses (IOMSN)

How does multiple sclerosis (MS) affect a person’s everyday life?

Multiple sclerosis, or MS, is a chronic, often disabling disease of the central nervous system, which is made up of the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves. Symptoms may be mild, moderate, or severe, ranging from numbness in the limbs to paralysis or loss of vision. Approximately 400,000 Americans are living with MS.

The progression, severity, and specific symptoms of MS are unpredictable and vary from one person to another. Some people are minimally affected by the disease, but others experience rapid progression to total disability.

What challenges do those impacted by MS face?

Living with a chronic condition like MS can be overwhelming, from managing the challenges of everyday life to scheduling regular doctors’ visits and remembering to take medication, it may be difficult to find time for yourself and focus on the positive. MS Blueprint™ can help people living with MS and their loved ones find time to focus on the positive aspects of life.

Please can you introduce MS Blueprint and the aims behind it?

Biogen Idec launched MS Blueprint to encourage people impacted by MS to set personal goals and create activity plans, called MS Blueprints, filled with fun activities that may help them attain a more positive life. The program was inspired by happiness expert Gretchen Rubin’s approach to creating a happier life and developed with guidance from the MS advocacy community.

By visiting, people can develop personalized plans, or MS Blueprints, of simple, fun activities to incorporate into their everyday routines. People can set select activities to add to their MS Blueprints tailored to what interests them from a variety of themes: Mind & Spirit, Body & Wellness, Community & Friendship, and Heart & Home. Whether they include activities such as playing a board game or taking a walk, the personalized MS Blueprints may guide the community to a more enjoyable life with MS.

Is MS Blueprint aimed solely at people with MS or also at people who have family members or friends with MS?

MS Blueprint was designed for people living with MS, as well as their friends and family. In addition to creating MS Blueprints, people can visit the website to read frequently asked questions about MS, and a blog from Gretchen on how to incorporate happiness into your daily routine. 

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